Literaryswag Book Club's Pick for August: Paul Beatty's The Sellout
The Literaryswag Book Club is about picking the books that can offer language which will help bring clarity to the realities we live while also assisting us in articulating the things we want and haven't yet learned to say. I'm seeing that being able to talk through books with people who don't necessarily think like me is challenging me to think in nuanced ways. This made itself evident is last month's meeting when we talked about Claudia Rankine's Citizen. If you've read Citizen you know that most of the book is written in the second person. I'd initially taken this to be a statement about how racism estranges us from our bodies. That when black bodies encounter racism we are no longer a first person "I" but a second person "you." The beauty of having a conversation allows you to see the same masterpiece through a different pair of eyes. Through these eyes I realized that the second person is used to show who's really estranged from their body when a racist act is committed--and it's not black bodies so much as white ones. In every slight the book recollects, the person of color knows they're being slighted; knows they're not seen. The person who's unaware of the slights is "the other." Usually we think of the other as anyone who isn't white, but this book subverts that expectation. Racism isn't the fault of the injured body; it's the fault of the body doing the injuring. The assumption has always been that only bodies of color are the ones to blame for racism. This book along with the conversation last month suggests otherwise. So to continue the momentum of last month's convo I've decided to pick Paul Beatty's The Sellout for August. This book may be the best novel I've ever read, simply because there's a freedom in where it allows itself to go. Not to mention it's funny af. If Dave Chappelle wrote literary fiction, he would've written this. Really good comedy makes you think, so if you're down for good laughs, good convo, and a really good time, we meet Thurs, 8/25 @ Washington Sq. Park at 7pm. Come through.
Links to where you can get the book on the low, below: